The Royal Burgh of Jedburgh

Town & District









Jedburgh, has a long and interesting history as well as being situated in one of the most attractive areas of the Southern Uplands of Scotland. It is the combination of these two factors and the extensive natural history of the area that makes this an ideal location for walking.

The areas history can be traced back to the 9th Century with the start of a Christian presence in the area. This was in the form of a founding church set up and supported from Lindisfarne. Then in 1147 under the guidance of King David 1 of Scotland an Abbey was established with Augustinian Monks. It is this Abbey that grew into the impressive structure that today in its ruined form still dominates the town centre.

Jedburgh Castle Also built in the 12 century was a Castle founded by King David 1. This was originally a Bailey fortress which was handed to the English and in 1335 it was developed into a stone courtyard castle with greater and less towers. However due to the constant warring between Scotland and England this was finally destroyed in the early 15th century. The Castle that is in existence today is on the same site but somewhat later in date and was established as a Howard Reform Prison. It dates from 1823 and is now the only existing example of this form of jail in Scotland.

The town also has play host to several monarchs. Malcolm IV died in Jedburgh, Alexander III was married in the Castle and Henry III of England came to negotiate succession rights to the Scottish throne.

Mary Queen of Scot's House Mary Queen of Scots also came to the town in 1566 staying for several months. Although she was associated with many Castles and Palaces in Scotland this one building is the only one in Scotland which bears her name. In October of that year, she had been in Jedburgh to administer justice in the court and had ridden to Hermitage Castle, 20 miles further south, to visit the Earl of Bothwell who had been injured in a skirmish with the Elliot family. On her return journey she was thrown from her horse while crossing bogland (now named The Queen's Mire) and was taken to this fortified house in Jedburgh which now bears her name. Mary was seriously ill for several months however she gradually recovered and left in November of 1566 to resume her activities in the assize courts.

More recent persons associated with the town are James Thomson (17001748) who wrote "Rule Britannia", he was born nearby, and educated in the town.

Also Mary Somerville (1780-1872), the eminent scientist and writer, after whom Somerville College, Oxford is named, lived initially in the town.

In 1781 David Brewster, physicist, mathematician, scientist, writer and inventor of the kaleidoscope was born in Jedburgh.

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